Video: No, the Resurrection Narratives Are Not Hopelessly Contradictory

Christians are often duped by the common mistake called the ‘fallacy of the expert witness.’ While there’s nothing wrong with appealing to expert authorities, fancy credentials can’t cover up weak arguments.  Enter Bart Ehrman. Dr. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He’s written several scholarly and popular-level works that cast doubt on the reliability of the New Testament.   As an agnostic, one reason Ehrman says we should reject the resurrection of Jesus is that the Gospel narratives are “hopelessly contradictory.” But are they really? What is his case for this? Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. … Read more

Video: Undesigned Coincidences in the Passion and Resurrection Narratives

Skeptics love to tell Christians that the Gospel stories developed over time, adding more mythological elements as they went along. Matthew and Luke copied Mark plus added more fables. And then you get John’s Gospel, which is total theological fan-fiction according to the critics.  But if that’s true, why do the Gospels have interlocking details that seem to be unlikely if they were just copied from each other or some other common source? The Gospels frequently add passing details that answer a question raised by the other in a way that fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. Fictions and forgeries don’t work that way. Some scholars call these undesigned coincidences. So what the heck is an undesigned … Read more

George Park Fisher on The Hallucination Hypothesis

George Park Fisher (August 10, 1827 – December 20, 1909) taught theology at Yale and was a noted historian. He was president of the American Historical Association while he also served as the pastor at the College Church at Yale. His book, A Manual of Christian Evidences, is an awesome, short introduction to historical apologetics that I highly recommend. Below was Fisher’s take on the hallucination hypothesis, which had become one of the more popular naturalistic explanations for Jesus’ resurrection during Fisher’s time. Fisher on The hallucination theory “Were the Apostles deceived? Were these manifestations to them (and to the five hundred) a delusion of their minds? A hallucination is a disorder of the senses, … Read more

James was Jesus’ Brother. Deal With It, Mythcists.

James the brother of Jesus

It’s a pretty amazing historical fact that Jesus’ brother — who probably wore the Savior’s hand-me-downs — later in life converted to Christianity. What would it take to convince you that your brother was the Messiah? Suffice to say that would take some pretty miraculous evidence, right? The Gospel writers tell us that Jesus’ own family thought he was crazy and doubted his claims. (Mark 3:21, John 7:5) But after believing he saw the risen Jesus, James had quite the change of mind. (1 Corinthians 15:7) He became an apostle, led the Jerusalem church, and was even martyred for the faith. This is pretty compelling evidence for Christianity. Here is where Jesus-mythers try and burst our … Read more

No, Jesus’ Resurrection Is Not Like Elvis Sightings

“Oh, so you believe in that Jesus appeared to his followers after he died, huh? Do you believe Elvis is still alive too?” You often hear this kind of mockery from skeptics. Just as urban legends and conspiracy theories have sprung up shortly after Elvis’ death, the same is likely true of Jesus, and both are equally unbelievable.   The atheist philosopher Keith Parsons writes, “Like sightings of Elvis, such (resurrection) stories and bizarre experiences feed off each other and snowball.” But is that really the way resurrection stories spread? Rather than being all shook up over this rather dismissive objection, let’s see how fair this comparison is.  No, Elvis Isn’t Alive On August 16, 1977, … Read more

Is the Resurrection Less Important Than Apologists Think?

Recently I came across an article by a really smart skeptic who goes by the handle of ‘Non-Alchemist’. I’ve crossed philosophical swords with him in the past over Twitter, and he’s a good guy who always makes me think. I greatly appreciate him for that. The blog post is titled ‘Why The Historical Case For The Resurrection Is Less Important Than You Think’. As Christians, we tend to think that a robust argument for the resurrection is all we need to prove Christianity. That argument fails for reason that the Torah says specifically that miracles don’t necessarily prove a divine revelation. Non-Alchemist writes: “Deuteronomy 13 informs us that Yahweh is willing to test his people’s … Read more

The Chick-Fil-A Argument for the Resurrection

What’s one of the most disappointing feelings in the world? Craving Chick-Fil-A and realizing that it’s Sunday. The chicken chain’s founder famously closed all locations on Sundays because of his Christian beliefs. But what’s the deal with the whole “Christians worshipping on a Sunday” thing? And does it serve as evidence for Christianity? You might think that’s a weird question, but according to the 19th-century scholar and clergyman George Maclear, it does. He wrote why in a 40-page essay titled “The Evidential Value of the Observance of the Lord’s Day.” In this tract, Maclear provides the historical background data regarding the celebration of Lord’s Day. He then asks his reader what best explains the evidence.  The historical value of … Read more

Was the tomb opened or closed when the women arrived?

Was the tomb opened or closed when the women arrived?

The Apostle Paul says that Christianity’s truth stands or falls on the resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:17) But skeptics point out that the resurrection narratives in the Gospels have more holes than swiss cheese. Why are they riddled with contradictions? One of their go-to contradictions is this: Was the tomb empty or closed when the women arrived? New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman asks: “Was the stone already rolled away when they arrived at the tomb (Mark, Luke, and John), or explicitly not (Matthew)?”  (How Jesus Became God) Before we take the scholar’s word for it, let’s look at the texts ourselves And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us … Read more

The power of Paul’s testimony: How investigating Paul’s conversion turned a skeptic into a Christian apologist

Here’s a very simple proof for Christianity. I’m warning you though, you’re going to be tempted to dismiss it because it’s sneakily uncomplicated. Are you ready for it? OK, here goes: Premise 1: Paul converted.  Premise 2: Therefore Christianity is true. OK, I’m kidding. Sort of. But I think that we sometimes fail to appreciate the evidential power of Paul’s conversion. Investigating Paul’s story is what turned a formerly self-proclaimed infidel into a believer and Christian apologist. His name is George Lyttleton.  Who was George Lyttleton?  Born in the small-town of Hagley, England in 1709, George Lyttleton was a prolific poet, Oxford graduate, and statesman who served as a member of Parliament. He had a … Read more

No, the Argument From Miracles Has Not Been Debunked (PT. 2 – A Response to Rationality Rules)

Is the argument from miracles hopelessly fallacious? Stephen Woodford, AKA ‘Rationality Rules,’ believes so. In his popular YouTube video ‘The Argument From Miracles-Debunked’ Woodford says the argument from miracles commits four major fallacies. In my last post, I looked at Woodford’s first two objections saw that they didn’t really hold up under scrutiny. I’d recommend giving it a read before continuing in this post. Go ahead; I’ll be right here when you get back. Alright, now let’s turn to his final two objections and see if they do any better. Oh, and if you want to watch Rationality Rules’ video in full, here you go: GOD OF THE GAPS? Here’s Stephen’s 3rd objection: “a third … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?